Throughout Michigan, more and more owners of market-rate apartment buildings are choosing to make their properties smoke-free. This makes good business sense because:
- There is a preference by tenants for smoke-free facilities.
- The rehab cost for a unit occupied by a non-smoker is much lower than the cost for a unit occupied by a smoker.
- About 9 percent of apartment fires are caused by smoking.
- Allowing smoking in a multiunit residential building potentially puts the owner at risk for civil litigation by non-smokers under common law theories, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.
- Implementing a non-smoking policy can increase the re-sale value of a building.
It all sounds good, but for the owner of a multiunit residential building, several questions arise. How can the owner implement a non-smoking policy? What should the owner do regarding current tenants who smoke? What about a prospective tenant who is certified to use medical marijuana?